Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Rotorheads
Reload this Page >

Ergonimically correct way of sitting in a helicopter

Rotorheads A haven for helicopter professionals to discuss the things that affect them

Ergonimically correct way of sitting in a helicopter

Old 16th Jul 2008, 18:16
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: aberdeen
Posts: 5
Cool Ergonimically correct way of sitting in a helicopter

I apologise if this thread has started elsewhere. Been flying for a while now, i thought i had the seating all figured out, just jumped into a new type and cannot get settled. Either the pedals are too far forward, the seat too high.It seems to affect everything about your flying; the angle you fly at for approaches depends on the height of your eyeline. So i was wondering what is the correct way of sitting to avoid back pain and more importantly for the controls.
Tortuous Convolulus is offline  
Old 16th Jul 2008, 18:49
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Age: 52
Posts: 67
Usual rules apply really, bum as far back in the seat as you can get it to make sure spine is vertical.

An important thing with helicopters - make sure you can push the T/R pedals all the way down so you don't run out of leg before you run out of pedal. I fly an AS355 so it's also important for me that I have enough leverage in my legs that I can move the pedals in the event of a hydraulics failure. That's another good reason not to 'slump' in the seat.

With the cyclic I always rest my arm on my leg to prevent excessive movement.

With the collective it's just getting your backside in a position where it isn't uncomfortable to hold. I found in the Schweizer 300 that it was less comfortable from the left seat because the collective is closer to the seat on that side, so you end up with your elbow either in the airflow or squeezed against the door, so I always flew from the right if I had the choice.
KrisRamJ is offline  
Old 16th Jul 2008, 19:17
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Philadelphia PA
Age: 70
Posts: 1,835
Because we don't have fully adjustable seats in most light helicopters, you're always going to compromise on posture. Get used to having a sore back and eventually lots of trips to the chiropractor.
Slouching, slight twist to back, one leg in a different position from the other, add vibration and some tension, and voila - structural problems!
Shawn Coyle is offline  
Old 16th Jul 2008, 21:52
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 398
and add to the mix 3 kgs of NVG on a naff helmet mount
Letsby Avenue is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2008, 00:07
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 72
Posts: 16,612
Perhaps one contribution to Bell Helicopters our learned friend Nick Lappos can make is in designing the first decent seat ever installed on a Bell Helicopter. Bell has ruined more pilot's backs than combination of other causes known to mankind.

We can drive rovers about the Moon....land explorers on Mars but not be able to build a comfortable helicopter seat....go figure?
SASless is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2008, 00:37
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Not here
Posts: 174
We can drive rovers about the Moon.
C'mon Sasless, we all know that was in a Hollywood basement
Scissorlink is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2008, 06:46
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 30
On a slight tangent but nonetheless related, are there any long-line pilots out there that solely use reference to mirrors for their line of work (instead of the ergonomically diabolical method of turning and leaning out of the helicopter)?

I have heard tales told of some pilots in Switzerland long-lining using this method. Can anyone confirm this?


dogpaddy is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2008, 06:57
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 289
Yup - confirmed. But I would not try that with a very long line.
A lot use both but especially the older guys just use mirrors.
The AS350 is not very practical for longlining by hanging out of the window and the window in the floor is not that good either. I don't know of any AS350 that is flow from the left in Switzerland.
Rotorbee is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2008, 08:34
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: South Africa
Posts: 109

Best thing to do with a squirrel, is move the backrest cushion down about 3 inches. With a bit of force, and the wonder of velcro, the seat becomes bearable.
Strange how traditionally pilots had to be short, but most things on choppers are designed for 6ft+ people. Ie oil dipstick on jetranger, and most cyclic controls on helis. Most guys I know fly with their hand around the bottom of the cyclic.
krobar is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2008, 09:10
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tree top level
Posts: 30
Has the number of Rotorblades an effect on how comfortable a Helo is???
Heard about Huey guys having big time back problems!?
Or is it the RRPM?

Greez Captino
Captino is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2008, 09:29
  #11 (permalink)  

Hovering AND talking
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Propping up bars in the Lands of D H Lawrence and Bishop Bonner
Age: 55
Posts: 5,711
Heard about Huey guys having big time back problems!?
Or is it the RRPM?
Nope, it's a Bell!!!


Whirlygig is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2008, 13:48
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Where i hang my hat
Age: 43
Posts: 91
I went and got myself a Tempur-Pedic seat cushion. Did marvels since my ass was going numb from spending my days in H269 or MD500.
A friend who flies a OH-58 for the statetrooper got one to + the cushion for the back (since he too riding a Bell all day had back problems). Hes much better now after using theese cushions.

Bit expensive but worth it.
MrEdd is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2008, 11:19
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 94
I use a simple lumbar roll in between my lower back and the seat (about 12cm in diameter, made of firm foam rubber). It seems to force me more upright. Can fly for hours without a twinge but if I forget it, hurts within 30 mins (so I don''t forget it much in my advancing age). Another pilot here uses a gel cushion (from Aero Oregon I think) to cushion his nether regions. Swears by it.
sunnywa is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2008, 12:09
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: France
Age: 79
Posts: 184
Angel Beware the "up down lever"

I know it's going back a bit - but on the Scout AH1 if the "up down lever" was smacked with your Army issue pistol you ended up looking at a line of instruments !!
Still sorts the men from the boys low level in the p***** rain.
rogerk is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2008, 14:08
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Out of Africa
Age: 67
Posts: 229
to SASless

We can drive rovers about the Moon
It is a great pity that Steve Glasby has still to learn the miracles of the internet or he could really put you straight on that one! He really put his money where his mouth was and made a documentary which was "sat on" big time by the "Land of the Free" mafioso. We recently made 4 copies of the DVD which means there are more pirates in circulation than originals.

Re backs - what about bums? - in the very early seventies while most teenagers were swapping 45 rpm singles, we were swapping suppositories on our RN Seaking Squadron trying to find the most effective brand.
My RN Observer Colin Watkins used to reckon a chinagraph was the most efficaceous way to handle his - i.e. put them back where they came from - problem was - he couldn't remember which end not to put in his mouth afterwards!

He has now retired to Italy and tells me that he produced 900 litres of red wine last year - "half way to becoming self sufficient" as he says!
Troglodita is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2008, 14:33
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: UK
Age: 44
Posts: 1,589
Our 135 has lumbar support built in which works a treat but now 3 years in I am suffering from the numb bum syndrome.
Brilliant Stuff is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2008, 14:45
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truro
Posts: 128
These work, or at least the thinner original did.

Posturite - Please enable your cookies
Bootneck is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2008, 15:04
  #18 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,765
Haha...someone wrote ergonomically and helicopter in the same sentence!
ShyTorque is online now  
Old 18th Jul 2008, 15:12
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kammbronn
Posts: 2,021
I know it's going back a bit - but on the Scout AH1 if the "up down lever" was smacked with your Army issue pistol you ended up looking at a line of instruments !!
Similar deal in the Lynx AH - if you hadn't locked the seat in place, then checked by doing heaves on the grab-handles - all that kevlar made it drop with quite a bang!
diginagain is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2008, 17:57
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 72
Posts: 16,612
Wokka herders can appreciate this situation!

The Chinook vertical adjustment that had about a four feet range (it seemed) could enliven an already interesting day when flying one of the wee things with a worn and nearly (but not yet) timex forward swash plate. As it was beating your brains out on every approach (in those days...almost 180 auto's) with the underslung loads adding to the jounce....the seat would then go from Port Arms to setting flat on the floor at the point one really would prefer looking out over something rather than through the toes of yer Buster Browns and the pedals at near nostril height.

As the Thrust Lever (collective to the unwashed of us) had a vertical throw of a few yards itself....ninety percent of which now was above shoulder height....it helped greatly if the other pilot did not have one thumb mashing the RPM Trim button shoved forward and the other hidden in a warm moist place. Hand signs worked best at that point assuming the other pilot took his eyes off the Nr for long enough to start the thought chain ending in "Where in the hell did he go?" as he peered at the void where the other pilot had been sitting previously before playing hidey seek.
SASless is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.